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Immigrant Community a Boon to Nebraska

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November 3, 2008

Marisa Trevino at Latina Lista wrote earlier this month on a new report out of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, entitled “Nebraska’s Immigrant Population: Economic and Fiscal Impacts.” And whaddya know, it has similar findings to countless similar reports: it finds that immigrants, far from being fiscal drain on social services, pump millions of dollars into local economies and increase the number of jobs. Marisa writes:

Looking at 2006 data, the researchers found that immigrant spending in the state resulted in an estimated $1.6 billion output to the Nebraska economy. The spending generated between 11,000 and 12,000 jobs in the state.

Immigrants in Nebraska significantly contribute to the state’s labor force with immigrants comprising 80.4 percent in meat processing — the state’s single largest industry and driving force for much of the state’s economy.

These are the indisputable facts. What the researchers uncovered about how much immigrants actually take away from state coffers will be the real source of contention and dispute.

According to the report, the immigrant population contributed in 2006 about $154 million in the form of property, income, sales and gas tax revenue. Their costs to the government from food stamps, public assistance, health and educational expenses totaled $144.78 million.

In other words, the researchers found that the state’s immigrants pay in about 7 percent more than what they use in government support. Also, if immigrants were removed from the state’s labor force in key industries like meat processing or construction, the state’s production would lose $13.5 billion.

Just the facts, everyone. More analysis here too as well.

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